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Any man can be a father

It takes someone special to be a baba

By Dina Halaseh - Jul 07,2019 - Last updated at Jul 10,2019

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

By Dina Halaseh

Educational Psychologist


In a society that mostly puts the weight and responsibility of parenting on mothers, we tend to see absent fathers everywhere.

My job as a brain trainer requires me to sit with both parents to help their children; I see very few fathers attending and sharing the responsibility of raising their children. Unfortunately, many fathers believe that if they provide financial stability for their families, then their job is done.

Fathers play a huge role in the development of their children. Their involvement impacts emotional, cognitive and social development. Many studies show that children with both parents involved tend to have higher academic achievements and educational outcomes. Being a good father results in more balanced children — emotionally, socially and cognitively. Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a baba. Here are a few tips for how fathers can be involved in their children’s lives. 


Being present for your children


We all need to feel like we have someone to fall back on, someone who is there no matter what and is willing to help us get through anything. Having a positive, involved and present father helps children develop a strong sense of security, wellbeing and high self-esteem.

Think about your childhood for a moment – do you remember what your father used to tell you? If it is positive, do you think it matters now? How does it make you feel? And if it were negative ones, do you want your child to feel that kind of pain? Do you still feel it?

Fathers are present when they take time away from work to be with their children. Instead of being silent in front of the television, a father can get involved and ask about their day and listen to what they have to say with full attention and no judgement. 


Admitting wrong


A father can admit mistakes and saying sorry is not something to be ashamed of. Children can achieve greater emotional understanding and better self-esteem when they can admit they are wrong and apologise for any misdoings. Many people believe this is a sign of weakness while it is absolutely the complete opposite. One of the hardest things to do is to apologise, but this shows your child your strength!

You’ll also be helping your child see that when someone does something wrong, it does not make them bad. Many children think that they are bad when they make a mistake. By teaching them that the action itself is bad, not them, that one can always apologise and fix mistakes, their self-esteem won’t be affected.


Praise and positivity


I still remember my father’s words growing up, and all the praise I received for all the little achievements I was able to do then. Even simple ones were huge to him. And I cannot help but smile when I think of how he thought of me. I’m sure for him as a wise baba, he saw many things that could be changed to the better, but with all his positivity and praise, I believed that he saw me as his little superstar. This image is imprinted in me now. When I think of my baba, I remember how much he loved and supported me all through the way.

Ensure that your words are filled with praise and love. Children get ridiculed all the time by so many people around them. Let them know that no matter what, “Baba” is proud of the smallest achievement. Answering many who ask, I always say that to get the behaviour you want from your child, model it and then praise it when they do it. Simply ignoring the negative behaviours and positively reinforcing the positive ones will do wonders! 

Giving children responsibility


We see many parents doing everything for their kids and assuming they’re helping them by taking away their burden. Kids need to understand that they need to work hard to get something out of life. Even if a parent is a millionaire with a child set for life, they still need to understand the value of everything, to take responsibility for their action, and to work hard. If they are not shouldering more responsibility as they grow, they might lose everything one day.

Fathers can help their children take responsibility for their studying, give them chores, have them make their beds and put away their dishes. Even getting them pets to foster will boost their sense of responsibility. They need to learn how to depend on themselves because one day, life will ask them to take full responsibility for themselves and even others. It doesn’t matter who you are as a father now, as you can always choose to be a better one. There is always something more that one can do to be there for their child. This is a special tribute to my baba Amer Halaseh. It’s sixteen years since he passed away, but he will always be in our hearts.


Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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